Game Over, Pete Watson

Common Sense Media says

Sci-fi/spy adventure delivers a fast-paced, if silly, plot.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Game Over, Pete Watson is fairly silly from start to finish, featuring one implausible scene after another. Its educational value lies in its appeal to reluctant readers, who should stay engaged by the fast-paced foolishness.

Positive messages

Game Over, Pete Watson doesn't spend much energy in moralizing. Nevertheless, it does emphasize bravery and personal sacrifice.

Positive role models

Pete Watson is obsessed with video games and is more than a little bit sneaky in the way he tries to earn money to pay for them. Basically, though, he's a good kid and a staunch friend, willing to put his own safety on the line during the ultimate showdown.


There's very little violence in Game Over, Pete Watson, Pete's father is kidnapped, and he and Pete are digitized against their wills.A giant mechanical cockroach causes havoc at a convention center.


Pete has a crush on his friend Wesley's older sister, which causes him to act awkwardly whenever she's around and embarrass himself.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Game Over, Pete Watson is a fast-paced and very silly sci-fi/spy adventure. The emphasis is on providing an engaging plot with plenty of room for silly, wise-acre jokes. There's no objectionable language, and no smoking, drinking or drug use. Violence is limited to a kidnapping and a scene in which a giant mechanical cockroach runs amok. Sexual content's limited to the unrequited crush Peter has on his friend's older sister. Great for reluctant readers, who will stay engaged by the fast-paced foolishness.

What's the story?

Desperate to earn enough money to buy a new video game, Pete Watson holds an impromptu garage sale and mistakenly sells his father's old CommandRoid 85 video game system. What he doesn't realize is that the system is the key to a nefarious plot to hijack the world's computer systems. After Pete's father is kidnapped, Pete must rely on his own wits and the assistance of two friends to prevent a complete digital disaster.

Is it any good?


GAME OVER, PETE WATSON careens from one wacky situation to another, leaving logic and character development far behind. That's OK, though, because the book has the cheerful, anarchic spirit of a Looney Tunes short. Author Joe Schreiber keeps the jokes -- about X-Ray Specs, mechanical cockroaches, video games, hypnotism, and much more -- coming thick and fast. Andy Rash's cartoonish black-and-white spot illustrations add an extra layer of pleasing goofiness. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss how videogames have become such a big part of popular culture. Why are video games so important to so many kids?

  • Do parents sometimes hide certain aspects of their lives from their children? When's that a good strategy and when is it not?

  • Why do teens sometimes act awkwardly when they have a crush on someone?

Book details

Author:Joe Schreiber
Illustrator:Andy Rash
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Great boy role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication date:March 11, 2014
Number of pages:210
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Available on:iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Game Over, Pete Watson was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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